Tuesday, April 23, 2013

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : TUES. APRIL 23, 2013

John 10: 22 - 30

22It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem;
23it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon.
24So the Jews gathered round him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."
25Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness to me;
26but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.
27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;
28and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.
29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.
30I and the Father are one."

TODAY'S SAINT : APRIL 23 : ST. GEORGE


St. George
MARTYR
Feast: April 23


Information:
Feast Day:April 23
Born:between ca. AD 275 and 281, Nicomedia, Bithynia, modern-day northwestern Turkey
Died:April 23, 303, Lydda, Palestine
Major Shrine:Church of Saint George, Lod
Patron of:agricultural workers; Amersfoort, Netherlands; Aragon; archers; armourers; Beirut, Lebanon; Bulgaria; butchers; Cappadocia; Catalonia; cavalry; chivalry; Constantinople; Corinthians; Crusaders; England; equestrians; Ethiopia; farmers; Ferrara; field workers; Genoa; Georgia; Gozo; Greece; Haldern, Germany; Heide; herpes; horsemen; horses; husbandmen; knights; lepers and leprosy; Lithuania; Lod; Malta; Modica, Sicily; Moscow; Order of the Garter; Palestine; Palestinian Christians; Piran; plague; Portugal; Portuguese Army; Portuguese Navy; Ptuj, Slovenia; Reggio Calabria; riders; saddle makers; Scouts; sheep; shepherds; skin diseases; soldiers; syphilis; Teutonic Knights
St George is honoured in the Catholic Church as one of the most illustrious martyrs of Christ. The Greeks have long distinguished him by the title of The Great Martyr, and keep his festival a holiday of obligation. There stood formerly in Constantinople five or six churches dedicated in his honour, the oldest of which was always said to have been built by Constantine the Great, who seems also to have been the founder of the church of St. George, which stood over his tomb in Palestine. Both these churches were certainly built under the first Christian emperors. In the middle of the sixth age, the Emperor Justinian erected a new church in honour of this saint at Bizanes, in Lesser Armenia: the Emperor Mauritius founded one in Constantinople. It is related in the life of St. Theodorus of Siceon that he served God a long while in a chapel which bore the name of St. George, had a particular devotion to this glorious martyr, and strongly recommended the same to Mauritius when he foretold him the  empire. One of the churches of St. George in Constantinople, called Manganes, with a monastery adjoining, gave to the Hellespont the name of the Arm of St. George. To this day is St. George honoured as principal patron, or tutelar saint, by several Eastern nations, particularly the Georgians. The Byzantine historians relate several battles to have been gained, and other miracles wrought, through his intercession. From frequent pilgrimages to his church and tomb in Palestine, performed by those who visited the Holy Land, his veneration was much propagated over the West. St. Gregory of Tours mentions him as highly celebrated in France in the sixth century. St. Gregory the Great ordered an old church of St. George, which was fallen to decay, to be repaired. His office is found in the sacramentary of that pope and many others. St. Clotildis, wife of Clovis, the first Christian king of France, erected altars under his name; and the church of Chelles, built by her, was originally dedicated in his honour. The ancient life of Droctovaeus mentions, that certain relics of St. George were placed in the church of St. Vincent, now called St. Germaris, in Paris, when it was first consecrated. Fortunatus of Poitiers wrote an epigram on a church of St. George, in Mentz. The intercession of this saint was implored especially in battles and by warriors, as appears by several instances in the Byzantine history, and he is said to have been himself a great soldier. He is, at this day, the tutelar saint of the republic of Genoa; and was chosen by our ancestors in the same quality under our first Norman kings. The great national council, held at Oxford in 1222, commanded his feast to be kept a holiday of the lesser rank throughout all England. Under his name and ensign was instituted by our victorious king, Edward III, in 1330, the most noble Order of knighthood in Europe, consisting of twenty-five knights besides the sovereign. Its establishment is dated fifty years before the knights of St. Michael were instituted in France by Louis XI; eighty years before the Order of the Golden Fleece, established by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy; and one hundred and ninety years before the Order of St. Andrew was set up in Scotland by James V. The emperor Frederic IV instituted, in 1470, an Order of knights in honour of St. George; and an honourable military Order in Venice bears his name.
The extraordinary devotion of all Christendom to this saint is an authentic proof how glorious his triumph and name have always been in the church. All his acts relate that he suffered under Diocletian at Nicomedia. Joseph Assemani shows, from the unanimous consent of all churches, that he was crowned on the 23rd of April. According to the account given us by Metaphrastes, he was born in Cappadocia, of noble Christian parents. After the death of his father he went with his mother into Palestine, she being a native of that country, and having there a considerable estate, which fell to her son George. He was strong and robust in body, and having embraced the profession of a soldier, was made a tribune, or colonel, in the army. By his courage and conduct he was soon preferred to higher stations by the Emperor Diocletian. When that prince waged war against the Christian religion, St. George laid aside the marks of his dignity, threw up his commission and posts, and complained to the emperor himself of his severities and bloody edicts. He was immediately cast into prison, and tried, first by promises, and afterwards put to the question and tortured with great cruelty; but nothing could shake his constancy. The next day he was led through the city and beheaded. Some think him to have been the same illustrious young man who tore down the edicts when they were first fixed up at Nicomedia, as Lactantius relates in his book, On the Death of the Persecutors, and Eusebius in his history. The reason why St. George has been regarded as the patron of military men is partly upon the score of his profession, and partly upon the credit of a relation of his appearing to the Christian army in the holy war, before the battle of Antioch. The success of this battle proving fortunate to the Christians, under Godfrey of Bouillon, made the name of St. George more famous in Europe and disposed the military men to implore more particularly his intercession. This devotion was confirmed, as it is said, by an apparition of St. George to our king, Richard I, in his expedition against the Saracens; which vision being declared to the troops, was to them a great encouragement, and they soon after defeated the enemy. St. George is usually painted on horseback and tilting at a dragon under his feet; but this representation is no more than an emblematical figure, purporting that by his faith and Christian fortitude he conquered the devil, called the dragon in the Apocalypse.
Though many dishonour the profession of arms by a licentiousness of manners, yet, to show us that perfect sanctity is attainable in all states, we find the names of more soldiers recorded in the Martyrologies than almost of any other profession. Every true disciple of Christ must be a martyr in the disposition of his heart, as he must be ready to lose all, and to suffer anything, rather than to offend God. Every good Christian is also a martyr, by the patience and courage with which he bears all trials. There is no virtue more necessary, nor of which the exercise ought to be more frequent, than patience. In this mortal life we have continually something to suffer from disappointments in affairs, from the severity of the seasons, from the injustice, caprice, peevishness, jealousy, or antipathy of others; and from ourselves, in pains either of mind or body. Even our own weaknesses and faults are to us subjects of patience. And as we have continually many burdens, both of our own and others, to bear, it is only in patience that we are to possess our souls. This affords us comfort in all our sufferings and maintains our souls in unshaken tranquillity and peace. This is true greatness of mind and the virtue of heroic souls. But, alas! every accident ruffles and disturbs us; and we are insupportable even to ourselves. What comfort should we find, what peace should we enjoy, what treasures of virtue should we heap up, what an harvest of merits should we reap, if we had learned the true spirit of Christian patience! This is the martyrdom and the crown of every faithful disciple of Christ.


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/G/stgeorge.asp#ixzz1spGRzvC7

TODAY'S SAINT : APRIL 23 : ST. ADALBERT OF PRAGUE


St. Adalbert of Prague
BISHOP AND MARTYR
Feast: April 23


Information:
Feast Day:April 23
Born:939, Libice nad Cidlinou, Bohemia
Died:997, Truso (Elbląg) or Kaliningrad Oblast
Patron of:Bohemia; Poland; Prussia
Born 939 of a noble Bohemian family; died 997. He assumed the name of the Archbishop Adalbert (his name had been Wojtech), under whom he studied at Magdeburg. He became Bishop of Prague, whence he was obliged to flee on account of the enmity he had aroused by his efforts to reform the clergy of his diocese. He betook himself to Rome, and when released by Pope John XV from his episcopal obligations, withdrew to a monastery and occupied himself in the most humble duties of the house. Recalled by his people, who received him with great demonstrations of joy, he was nevertheless expelled a second time and returned to Rome. The people of Hungary were just then turning towards Christianity. Adalbert went among them as a missionary, and probably baptized King Geysa and his family, and King Stephen. He afterwards evangelized the Poles, and was made Archbishop of Gnesen. But he again relinquished his see, and set out to preach to the idolatrous inhabitants of what is now the Kingdom of Prussia. Success attended his efforts at first, but his imperious manner in commanding them to abandon paganism irritated them, and at the instigation of one of the pagan priests he was killed. This was in the year 997. His feast is celebrated 23 April, and he is called the Apostle of Prussia. Boleslas I, Prince of Poland, is said to have ransomed his body for an equivalent weight of gold. He is thought to be the author of the war-song, "Boga-Rodzica", which the Poles used to sing when going to battle.


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/A/stadalbertofprague.asp#ixzz1spGF2V86

POPE FRANCIS "THE TRUE DOOR IS JESUS" AND VATICAN NEWS

POPE RECALLS SERMON ON MOUNT TO AFFIRM THAT JESUS IS DOOR TO ENTER INTO KINGDOM OF GOD
Vatican City, 22 April 2013 (VIS) – The reflection on Jesus as the “door” to enter into the Kingdom of God was the central theme of this morning's Mass celebrated by the Pope in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, at which the personnel of the Press Office of the Holy See and various technicians of Vatican Radio were in attendance.
The Holy Father recalled that in today's Gospel, which narrated the story of the Good Shepherd, Jesus asserted that: “whoever doesn't enter the sheepfold by the gate is not the shepherd. … He is a thief or a robber,” the Pope said, “someone seeking his own profit. ...There are also such people in the Christian community, who seek their own profit and, consciously or unconsciously, pretend to enter at the door. But they are thieves … because the steal Jesus' glory and seek their own. … They have not entered by the true door. … The true door is Jesus and whoever does not enter by this door errs.”
“How do we know that the true door is Jesus?” the pontiff asked. “Reading what the Beatitudes say, as they are told in St. Matthew: 'Be humble, be poor, be meek, be just' … When they give you another suggestion, don't listen to it. The door is always Jesus and whoever enters by that door is not mistaken. Jesus isn't only the door; He is the way, the path. There are many paths: some seems more advantageous for arriving but they are misleading. They are false.”
“Let us ask today for the grace to always knock at that door. … Sometimes we have problems doing so. But we don't have to go looking for other, easier doors. The door is Jesus, who doesn't disappoint, who doesn't deceive. He has given his life for us. And each of us has to say: 'You have given your life for me, open, please, that I might enter. Open, Lord, because I want to enter by 'this' door, not by that other,” Pope Francis concluded.
 
MESSAGE TO EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS OF COSTA RICA
Vatican City, 22 April 2013 (VIS) – Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., secretary of State, sent a short message on behalf of the Holy Father to the organizers and participants in the National Eucharistic Congress that is being held in Costa Rica with the theme of “Eucharist: Bread of Life for Our People”.
The Pope invites all to “intensify their prayer lives, making the Eucharist the true centre of Christian communities, where praise and thanksgiving are the impetus to a renewed commitment to evangelization and ecclesial communion. May the Blessed Sacrament at the altar give all the Baptised plentiful spiritual energy to build a world that is ever more just and harmonious, according to the message of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
With these regards,” the text concludes, “the Supreme Pontiff entrusts to the loving protection of Our Lady of the Angels, the pastors and faithful who have made the pilgrimage to the House of the Father in Costa Rica. As a sign of abundant heavenly gifts, he affectionately imparts to them the besought Apostolic Blessing.”
 
POPE TO ADMINISTER SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION
Vatican City, 22 April 2013 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that next Sunday, 28 April, the Fifth Sunday of Easter at 10:00am in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father Francis will celebrate Mass for confirmands who have come in pilgrimage to Rome from around the world for the Year of Faith. He will administer the sacrament of Confirmation to some of them.
 
CARDINAL SALAZAR TAKES POSSESSION OF HIS TITULAR CHURCH
Vatican City, 22 April 2013 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that next Sunday, 28 April, at 11:00am, Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez, archbishop of Bogota, Colombia, will take possession of the title of St. Gerardo Maiella on Via Romolo Balzani, 74.

RIP BISHOP EMERITUS WILLIAM MURRAY - AGE 93


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
23 Apr 2013
Bishop Murrary with the then Pope Benedict
in 2008
The funeral for Bishop Emeritus William Edward Murray will be held at 11 am next Wednesday, 1 May at St Francis Xavier's Cathedral in Wollongong following his death last Sunday afternoon at the Little Sisters of the Poor Nursing Home at Randwick.
He was 93 years old and presided as Bishop at the Wollongong Cathedral from 1975 to 1996.
Paying tribute to late Bishop Murray, Wollongong's current Bishop, the Most Rev Peter Ingham described his predecessor as a "dedicated priest" who served the Wollongong Diocese for just over 22 years.
The period during which Bishop Murray presided over the Wollongong Diocese was one of "great change and development for the Church," Bishop Ingham said adding Bishop Murray's vision and foresight were responsible for making provisions for the vast expanding Macarthur areas by establishing parishes throughout the region to meet the growing needs of the community.
Bishops Murray and Ingham and Archbishop Wilson in 2001
Bishop Ingham also recalled Bishop Murray's sharp sense of humour and his selfless dedication to caring for the people of the Wollongong Diocese.
"His final years were difficult for him after he suffered a stroke which crippled his body and impaired his ability to speak," Bishop Ingham says.
Born on 16 February, 1920 the late prelate grew up in Sydney's Leichardt and after attending De La Salle College in Marrickville, entered St Columba's Seminary at Springwood.
Ordained by Cardinal Norman Gilroy on 21 July, 1945 at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, he was appointed as assistant and then parish priest at churches across the Sydney Archdiocese. During this period he studied at the University of Sydney where he was awarded a Doctorate in Social Science. He continued his studies at the Gregorian University in Rome where he was awarded a Doctorate in International Law.
On 5 June 1975, almost exactly 30 years after his ordination, he was appointed Bishop of Wollongong nearly 30 years later by Cardinal James Freeman. 
As Bishop he was much loved and admired for his dedication, compassion and pastoral care. In 1988 he was awarded an Order of Australia.
Bishop William Murray
"On behalf of the Australian bishops, I recognise the generous pastoral service of Bishop William Murray in Wollongong as a priest of 37 years and as Bishop of Wollongong for more than 20 years," Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops conference said last night. "We remember him with affection and prayer."

SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY

NEW PRESIDENT OF PARAGUAY HORACIO CARTES ELECTED

Agenzia Fides REPORT- The Superior Court of Electoral Justice of Paraguay announced that, based on the results of yesterday's elections Sunday, April 21, Horacio Cartes is the new President of Paraguay. According to data collected by Fides, Cartes obtained 45.91% of the vote compared to 36.84% of his rival of the Partido Liberal, Efrain Alegre, with 81% of votes counted.
The choice of Cartes means the return to power of the Partido Colorado which ruled Paraguay for 60 years until 2008. About 3.5 million people were called to the polls to elect the President and Vice President, members of Congress and the regional governors. These elections are vital to restore the international reputation of the Country after the controversy for Fernando Lugo’s destitution in 2012. Cartes replaces President Federico Franco, who completed the mandate entrusted to Lugo in 2008. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 22/04/2013)

5 YEAR OLD GIRL RAPED IN INDIA

ASIA NEWS REPORT
by Nirmala Carvalho
The little girl was abused and tortured for two days. Two suspects have been arrested for sexual assault. For member of the Pontifical Academy of Life, violence is done against "Indian girls and women in insidious as well as blatant ways, in every sphere of their life," through female feticide, dowry murders and discrimination.


New Delhi (AsiaNews) - "The unspeakable brutality unleashed on this little child is India's shame," said Pascoal Carvalho, a Catholic physician and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. He is unequivocal about the case of a the girl raped for two days by two neighbours and left for dead on 17 April.
Police today arrested the second suspect, a man called Pradeep, in the state of Bihar where he had fled after the first accused, Manoj Kumar, who was detained on Saturday in another village also in Bihar, told police during interrogation that one of his friends was involved in the crime. The two men are between 25 and 30.
The girl is still hospitalised at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, where doctors were able to stabilise her condition.
On 15 April, the two accused, perhaps under the influence of alcohol, grabbed the little girl, the daughter of neighbours. For two days, they raped and tortured her, and tried to strangle her to prevent her from talking.
After finding their daughter unconscious on 17 April, the parents filed a complaint with the local police station, where duty officers refused their request, telling them to take her to a doctor or treat her at home. Two days later, on 19 April, the parents took her to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
Sources in the health care facility said that the child had wounds to the cheeks, signs of strangulation around the neck and ongoing infections caused by objects used to violate her.
"Police callousness is most shameful," Dr Carvalho said. Violence is done against "Indian girls and women in insidious as well as blatant ways, in every sphere of their life."
"The systematic and escalating elimination of women in India through female foeticide, female infanticide, dowry murders, sexual assault, high mortality rates of girls under five due to deliberate neglect, and the highest maternal mortality rate in the world are contributing factors to the low status of women in India, resulting in lack of respect and escalating violence, discrimination, brutalisation and annihilation."
SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT 

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : MON. APRIL 22, 2013

John 10: 1 - 10

1"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber;2but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.3To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.4When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.5A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers."6This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.7So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.8All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them.9I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.


TODAY'S SAINT : APRIL 22 : ST. OPPORTUNA


St. Opportuna
VIRGIN AND ABBESS
Feast: April 22


     Information:
Feast Day:April 17
Born:at the castle of Exmes, Argentan, near Ayesmes, Normandy, France
Died:22 April 770, Montreuil, France
Patron of:Diocese of Séez
Virgin and abbess of Montreuil, three miles from Seez, an episcopal see in Normandy, of which her brother, St. Chrodegang, was bishop. This holy prelate, returning from a pilgrimage of devotion which he had made to Rome and other holy places, went to pay a visit to his cousin, St. Lantildis, abbess of Almanesches, in his diocese; but was murdered in the way, at Normant, on the 3d of September, 769, by the contrivance of Chrodobert, a powerful relation, to whom he had intrusted the administration of his temporalities during his absence. He is honored in the Breviary of Seez on the day of his death: his head is enshrined in the abbey of St. Martin in the Fields, at Paris, and his body in the priory of Isle-Adam upon the Oise, near Pontoise. St. Opportuna did not long survive him, dying in 770, on the 22d of April, having lived an accomplished model of humility, obedience, mortification, and prayer. Her relics were carried from Seez during the incursions of the Normans, in the reign of Charles the Bald, to the priory of Moussy, between Paris and Senlis, in 1009: and some time after to Senlis. In the reign of Charles V., in 1374, her right arm was translated to Paris with great devotion and pomp, and deposited in the church which was built in her honor, in the reign of Charles the Bald, to receive a former portion of her relics then brought from Moussy. It was then a small church, built at the entrance of a wood, near a hermitage, called before, Notre Dames des Bois Paris. The town being since extended much beyond this church, it was made parochial and a collegiate of canons. Great part of the head of St. Opportuna remains at Moussy; her left arm, with part of her skull, at Almenesches: one jaw in the priory of St. Chrodegang, at l'Isle-Adam, and a rib, with her right arm, in her church at Paris. In processions, when the shrine of St. Genevieve is taken down, and carried, the ancient portion of the relics of St. Opportuna, kept in a large shrine, is also carried next the shrine of St. Honoratus. She is commemorated in the Paris Breviary, and is the titular saint of a parish in that city.


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/O/stopportuna.asp#ixzz1snWan7iX

POPE FRANCIS "A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD IN CHRIST" AND VATICAN NEWS

BE PASTORS NOT FUNCTIONARIES, POPE SAYS TO NEW PRIESTS
Vatican City, 21 April 2013 (VIS) – This morning in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis conferred priestly ordination upon ten deacons from several Roman diocesan seminaries: the Major Seminary, the Seminary of the Oblates, the sanctuary of the Virgin of Divine Love, and the Redemptoris Mater Seminary. Concelebrating with the Holy Father were Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of His Holiness for Rome, Archbishop Filippo Iannone, O. Carm., vice gerent of the diocese of Rome, auxiliary bishops, and the superiors of the seminaries from which the new priests came.
The homily delivered by the Bishop of Rome was based on the one that appears in the Pontificale Romanum for the ordination of priests, with one or two personal additions, mainly emphasizing the mercy that must characterize the new priests. Following are ample extracts from his homily.
“It is true that God has made his entire holy people a royal priesthood in Christ. Nevertheless, our great Priest himself, Jesus Christ, chose certain disciples to carry out publicly in his name, and on behalf of mankind, a priestly office in the Church. For Christ was sent by the Father and he in turn sent the Apostles into the world, so that through them and their successors, the Bishops, he might continue to exercise his office of Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd. Indeed, priests are established co-workers of the Order of Bishops, with whom they are joined in the priestly office and with whom they are called to the service of the people of God.”
“Now ... you are to be raised to the Order of the Priesthood. For your part you will exercise the sacred duty of teaching in the name of Christ the Teacher. Impart to everyone the Word of God which you have received with joy. Remember your mothers, your grandmothers, your catechists, who gave you the Word of God, the faith ... the gift of faith! ... Meditating on the law of the Lord, see that you believe what you read, that you teach what you believe, and that you practise what you teach. Remember too that the Word of God is not your property: it is the Word of God. And the Church is the custodian of the Word of God.”
“You will exercise in Christ the office of sanctifying. … You will gather others into the people of God through Baptism, and you will forgive sins in the name of Christ and the Church in the sacrament of Penance. Today I ask you in the name of Christ and the Church, never tire of being merciful. You will comfort the sick and the elderly with holy oil: do not hesitate to show tenderness towards the elderly.”
“Remember then that you are taken from among men and appointed on their behalf for those things that pertain to God. Therefore, carry out the ministry of Christ the Priest with constant joy and genuine love, attending not to your own concerns but to those of Jesus Christ. You are pastors, not functionaries. Be mediators, not intermediaries.”
“Finally, dear sons, exercising for your part the office of Christ, Head and Shepherd, while united with the Bishop and subject to him, strive to bring the faithful together into one family, so that you may lead them to God the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit. Keep always before your eyes the example of the Good Shepherd who came not to be served but to serve, and who came to seek out and save what was lost.”
 
REGINA COELI: RECOGNIZING JESUS' VOICE AND FOLLOWING IT
Vatican City, 21 April 2013 (VIS) – At the end of the Mass celebrated in the Vatican Basilica for the ordination of ten deacons, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Regina Coeli with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
The Pope explained that the fourth Sunday of Easter is characterized by the Gospel of the Good Shepherd, citing the four verses that contain “Jesus' entire message”. “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one” (Jn 10:27-30).
“Jesus wants to establish a relationship with his friends that reflects the one he has with the Father: a relationship of mutual belonging in complete confidence, in intimate communion.” To express this it is necessary to use the image of the sheep who recognize the voice of the shepherd and follow him. “The mystery of the voice is suggestive. Already at our mother's breast we learn to recognize her voice, and that of our father. By someone's tone of voice we can perceive love or contempt, affection or coldness. Jesus' voice is unique! If we learn to distinguish it, He guides us on the path of life, a path that even overcomes the abyss of death.”
However, referring to his sheep, Jesus also says: “My Father, who has given them to me. This is very important. It is a profound mystery that is not easy to understand. If I feel attracted to Jesus, if his voice warms my heart, it is thanks to God the Father who has put this desire for love, for truth, for life, for beauty within me. And Jesus is all this completely. This helps us to understand the mystery of vocation, especially of the call to a special consecration.”
“Today there are many young persons in the piazza,” the pontiff observed. “I want to ask you, has there been a time when you have heard the Lord's voice, who through a desire, a restlessness, has invited you to follow him more closely? … Youth needs to put its high ideals into action. Have you thought of this? … Ask Jesus what He wants of you and be courageous! … Behind and before each vocation to the priesthood or the consecrated life there is always someone's strong and intense prayer: a grandmother, a grandfather,a mother, a father, a community. This is why Jesus said 'ask the master of the harvest—that is, God the Father—to send out labourers for his harvest'. Vocations are born in prayer and from prayer. Only in prayer can they persevere and bear fruit. I would like to emphasize that today is the 'World Day of Prayer for Vocations'. Let us pray in particular for the new priests of the Diocese of Rome who I had the joy or ordaining this morning. … And let us call upon the intercession of Mary, who is the Woman of the 'Yes'. She said 'Yes' her entire life. She learned to recognize Jesus' voice from when she carried him in her womb. May Mary, our Mother, help us to always know better Jesus' voice and to follow it, to walk in the path of life.”
 
PATHS OF JUSTICE AND PEACEFUL SOLUTIONS FOR VENEZUELA
Vatican City, 21 April 2013 (VIS) – After the Regina Coeli, the Pope asked for prayers for those suffering from the political violence in Venezuela and from the earthquake in China.
“I am following attentively the events that are happening in Venezuela,” the Pontiff said. “I accompany them with deep concern, with intense prayer, and with the hope that you will seek and find ways to overcome, with justice and peace, this moment of serious difficulty that the country is undergoing. I call upon the beloved Venezuelan people, especially institutional and political decision makers, to firmly reject any type of violence and to establish a dialogue based in truth, mutual recognition, in the search for the common good, and in love for the Nation. I ask believers to pray and work for reconciliation and peace. Let us join together in a prayer full of hope for Venezuela, placing it in the hands of Our Lady of Coromoto.”
“My thoughts are also with, the pontiff continued, “those who have been affected by the earthquake that struck the south-west of mainland China. We pray for the victims and those who are suffering because of the violent earthquake.”
The Pope also noted that, this afternoon in Sondrio, Italy, Fr. Nicolo Rusca, who lived between the 16th and 17th centuries, will be beatified. “For a long time he was an exemplary pastor in Sondrio and he fell victim to the political-religious conflicts that were afflicting Europe at that time. Let us give thanks to God for his witness.”
Finally, he spoke of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which was “born 50 years ago thanks to the happy intuition of Pope Paul VI. I invite everyone to pray that the Lord send many workers to his vineyard. St. Annibale Maria di Francia, apostle of prayer for vocations, remind us of this very important task.”
 
POPE WRITES PRESIDENT OF ITALIAN REPUBLIC
Vatican City, 20 April 2013 (VIS) – Pope Francis has written a telegram to the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, on the occasion of his re-election.
“At this moment in which you, with ready willingness and a spirit of sacrifice, have again accepted the supreme magistrature of the Italian State as President of the Republic, I wish to express my most sincere and heartfelt best wishes. Wishing that you may continue your enlightened and wise activity, supported by the responsible cooperation of all, I invoke upon your person and your exalted service to the Nation, constant divine assistance. I wholeheartedly impart to you and to the beloved Italian Nation, the Apostolic Blessing, as encouragement to building a future of harmony, solidarity, and hope.”
 
TELEGRAM FOR EXPLOSION IN WEST, TEXAS, USA
Vatican City, 20 April 2013 (VIS) – Following is the text of the telegram sent, on behalf of the Holy Father, by Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, USA for the explosion Wednesday night of a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, USA which has caused 14 deaths and hundreds of wounded to date.
“Saddened by news of the destruction caused by the explosion in West, the Holy Father asks you kindly to convey his heartfelt condolences to the civil authorities and the afflicted families. He prays for the eternal rest of the victims and implores God’s blessings of consolation and peace upon those who mourn and all who generously aid in the continuing work of relief.”
 
NEW LIFE IN HISTORIC RUSSIAN CONVENT OF DORMITION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD IN ROME
Vatican City, 20 April 2013 (VIS) - Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, accompanied by Msgr. Maurizio Malvestiti, under secretary of the same dicastery, visited the Russian Monastery of the Dormition in Rome on the occasion of the arrival of some aspirants to the monastic life these past months.
The cardinal recalled the great richness of the Eastern monastic tradition at the heart of the Church of Rome, called to preside in charity over the entire Church, and offering its prayers in a special way for the intentions of the universal Pastor, Pope Francis. These prayers, the prefect affirmed, will sustain the life of all the Oriental Catholic Churches, which are often beset by suffering and persecution, and they will represent an inestimable assistance on the path toward the reconciliation and unity of all Christians.
The community, which supported itself in the past by creating icons and liturgical vestments for bishops and priests, will resume the activity of its workshops.
The Monastery of the Dormition of Mary (Uspenskij in Slavic) was officially established on 15 December 1957, in realization of the wishes and commitment of the then-secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Cardinal Eugenio Tisserant, as well as the dedication of the Jesuit fathers. Founded during the years of persecution that the Church behind the Iron Curtain suffered, the monastery was blessed by Pope Pius XII so that it might contribute, with its prayers, to the spiritual rebirth of the Eastern European lands, especially Russia. In an audience granted to Cardinal Tisserant in 1956, he agreed to the establishment in Rome of a Russian monastery for women in order to “beg the clemency of God Almighty toward the Russian peoples”.
The monastery's liturgy, as Cardinal Tisserant desired, is in the Byzantine Rite, always carried out in communion with the Bishop of Rome, who is named seven times in the daily office of prayers. For more than 50 years this prayer has continued without interruption. The monastery has been considered an island of Russia, through which Russian students, prelates, monks, and nuns have passed, feeling themselves at home. One such visitor was the current patriarch of Moscow, Kirill I, who came to know the monastery when he was a young priest.
 
AUDIENCES
Vatican City, 22 April 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
eight prelates of the Umbria region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia-Città della Pieve,
- Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, bishop of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino,
- Archbishop Renato Boccardo of Spoleto-Norcia,
- Bishop Mario Ceccobelli of Gubbio,
- Bishop Benedetto Tuzia of Orvieto-Todi,
- Bishop Domenico Cancian, F.A.M., of Città di Castello,
- Bishop Gualtiero Sigismondi of Foligno,
- Bishop Ernesto Vecchi, titular Bishop of Lemellefa, Apostolic Administrator of Terni-Narni-Amelia, and
Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia.
On Saturday, 20 April, the Holy Father received:
- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and
- Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.